Farmacia Juice Bar
Farmacia Juice Bar is riding Toronto's new wave of power juicing all the way to the Beach. The bar's owner, former physical trainer Stefano Sanna, started out by making nutrient-dense smoothies and juices for clients, and thought he'd take it to the next level by opening his own place.
The bar, located at Queen and Wineva, is bright and welcoming, with the juice counter front and centre and a perch with a few stools set up in the window. Step up the back stairs and you'll find another sitting area with several tables for adults and kids and couple of comfy chairs.
Sanna uses all organic ingredients that you can see in bins and baskets behind the bar. Each juice is pressed to order for ultimate freshness, but that adds a certain lengthiness to the visit. as each vegetable and fruit is cut, fed and pressed through the machine. If there are a couple of people ahead of you, be prepared for a little wait. Sanna also only uses living spring water in the making of the drinks (even the ice), believing it to be a superior water source to Toronto's finest tap water - or even distilled, for that matter. (Even raw foodists debate the merits of certain types of water, including so-called living spring water - but whatever floats your boat.)
At Farmacia you can get smoothies, juices, power drinks and elixirs. The elixirs are $3 each, and can be added to other drinks or taken as a quick shot on their own; they provide focused nutrients meant to boost your heart, lungs, skin or immune system. The Immune elixir, for example, is made with chaga and pau d'arco (both antioxidant cancer fighters).
The lineup of protein-laden power drinks ($10) includes Yoga Warrior (with hemp protein, cacao, and banana) and Cosmic Coffee, while the smoothies come in two sizes and a variety of flavours, including Sanna Banana and Kale Lime Pie. I tried the latter, a blend of kale, pear, avocado, honey, lime, and sea salt blitzed in a Vitamix blender with some of that special ice. It was good, not too thick, with the rich flavour of avocado tempering the sharpness of the kale.
I also tried their Heart Beet juice ($7.50 small/$8.50 large), a deep red mix of beets, celery, carrots and apple. The earthy sweetness of the beets and carrots complemented the clean astringency of the celery and apple. Go for broke and get a customized three-day detox program of juices for $229 - your body will thank you.
They also sell raw chocolate, collard wraps ($3.75) and tinctures ($30). Sanna is kind and full of information about all the different tinctures, elixirs and ingredients he uses; no matter your needs, he'll help you find the right juice.
Photos by Jesse Milns